Question: come predict what will occur to profit in the future at Bikes Unlimited, us must understand how prices behave with transforms in the number of units sold (sales volume). Some expenses will not adjust at all v a readjust in sales volume (e.g., monthly rent because that the manufacturing facility). Some prices will readjust with a readjust in sales volume (e.g., materials for the hill bikes). What are the three cost behavior patterns that help organizations identify which costs will adjust and i beg your pardon will remain the same with transforms in sales volume?

Answer: The three an easy cost actions patterns are recognized as variable, fixed, and also mixed. Every of these expense patterns is defined next.

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Variable Costs

Question: We recognize that some costs vary with transforms in activity. What perform we call this kind of cost behavior?

Answer: This cost habits pattern is dubbed a variable cost. A variable expense describes a cost that varies in total with transforms in volume the activity. The activity in this instance is the variety of bikes produced and also sold. However, the activity can take numerous different forms depending upon the organization. The two most usual variable costs are straight materials and also direct labor. Other examples incorporate indirect materials and energy costs.

Assume the expense of straight materials (wheels, seats, frames, and so forth) because that each bike at Bikes countless is $40. If Bikes unlimited produces one bike, total variable price for direct materials amounts to $40. If Bikes countless doubles its manufacturing to two bikes, complete variable price for straight materials additionally doubles come $80. Variable prices typically change in proportion to transforms in volume of activity. If volume of activity doubles, complete variable costs also double, while the expense per unit continues to be the same. The is crucial to note that the term variable refers to what happens to total costs with transforms in activity, no to the price per unit.

Taking it one step further for Bikes Unlimited, let’s consider all variable expenses related to production. Assume straight materials, straight labor, and all various other variable production prices amount come $60 every unit. Table 5.1 “Variable Cost actions for Bikes Unlimited” offers the total and also per unit variable prices at three various levels of production, and Figure 5.1 “Total change Production prices for Bikes Unlimited” graphs the relationship of complete variable prices (y-axis) come units created (x-axis). Keep in mind that the steep of the line represents the variable expense per unit the $60 (slope = change in variable cost ÷ adjust in systems produced).

Table 5.1 change Cost actions for Bikes Unlimited

Units ProducedTotal change CostsPer Unit change Cost
1$ 60$60

Figure 5.1 full Variable Production expenses for Bikes Unlimited

Using Different tasks to measure up Variable Costs

Question: at Bikes Unlimited, it is reasonable come assume that the activity, variety of units produced, will affect total variable prices for direct materials and direct labor. However, companies often use a different task to estimate full variable costs. What species of activities might be offered to calculation variable costs?

Answer: The kind of task used to estimate variable costs depends on the cost. For example, a legislation firm might use the number of labor hours to estimate labor costs. An airline such together American Airlines might use hours of paris time to calculation fuel costs. A letter delivery organization such together UPS could use the number that packages processed to calculation labor costs linked with sorting packages. A retail save such as Best Buy might use sales dollars to estimate cost of goods sold.

Variable costs are influenced by different activities depending ~ above the organization. The goal is to uncover the task that reasons the variable expense so the accurate cost estimates have the right to be made.

Fixed Costs

Question: expenses that differ in complete with changes in activity are dubbed variable costs. What execute we contact costs that stay the exact same in complete with alters in activity?

Answer: This cost actions pattern is referred to as a fixed cost. A fixed price describes a cost that is fixed (does no change) in total with alters in volume of activity. Presume the task is the number of bikes produced and also sold, examples of fixed prices include salaried personnel, structure rent, and also insurance.

Assume Bikes countless pays $8,000 every month in rent because that its manufacturing facility. In addition, insurance because that the same building is $2,000 every month and salaried manufacturing personnel room paid $6,000 every month. All other fixed manufacturing costs complete $4,000. For this reason Bikes endless has full fixed costs of $20,000 per month related to its manufacturing facility (= $8,000 + $2,000 + $6,000 + $4,000). If only one bike is produced, Bikes endless still have to pay $20,000 per month. If 5,000 bikes space produced, Bikes limitless still payment $20,000 per month. The fixed costs remain unchanged in full as the level of activity changes.

Question: What wake up to fixed expenses on a per unit basis as manufacturing levels change?

Answer: If Bikes unlimited only to produce one bike, the fixed expense per unit would amount come $20,000 (= $20,000 full fixed costs ÷ 1 bike). If Bikes limitless produces two bikes, the fixed cost per unit would be $10,000 (= $20,000 ÷ 2 bikes). As task increases, the fixed costs are spread out over more units, which results in a lower expense per unit.

Table 5.2 “Fixed Cost behavior for Bikes Unlimited” provides the total and also per unit fixed prices at three various levels that production, and Figure 5.2 “Total resolved Production prices for Bikes Unlimited” graphs the relation of total fixed costs (y-axis) come units developed (x-axis). Keep in mind that nevertheless of the activity level, total fixed expenses remain the same.

Table 5.2 resolved Cost behavior for Bikes Unlimited

Units ProducedTotal solved CostsPer Unit fixed Cost

Figure 5.2 complete Fixed Production prices for Bikes Unlimited

United Airlines struggles to control Costs

United Airlines is the 2nd largest air transport in the world. It has hubs in Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, mountain Francisco, and brand-new York and also flies come 109 destinations in 23 countries. Destinations include Tokyo, London, and Frankfurt.

Back in 2002, United filed because that bankruptcy. Industry analysts reported the United had relatively high solved costs, do it challenging for the firm to cut expenses quickly in line v its reduction in revenue. A few years later, United emerged from bankruptcy, and in 2010 combined with Continental Airlines. Although financial info was presented individually for each company (United and Continental) in 2010, both suppliers are currently owned by United continent Holdings, Inc. The following financial info for United Airlines is indigenous the company’s earnings statement because that the year finished December 31, 2010 (amounts are in millions). Testimonial this details carefully. Which costs are most likely to be fixed?

Although us cannot recognize all fixed costs with certainty, several expenses likely fall into this category: salaries (for union employees, such as pilots, flight crews, and also mechanics); aircraft fuel (assuming flights room not conveniently canceled); aircraft rent; and also depreciation. These costs total $11.1 billion, or 60 percent of total operating costs (rounded). Fixed costs are clearly a large component of full operating expenses, which renders it daunting for airline companies prefer United Airlines to make momentary cuts in costs when revenue declines.

Committed matches Discretionary fixed Costs

Question: Organizations frequently view fixed costs as one of two people committed or discretionary. What is the difference between these two varieties of resolved costs?

Answer: A cursed fixed price is a fixed cost that cannot conveniently be changed in the quick run without having a far-ranging impact ~ above the organization. Because that example, assume Bikes endless has a five-year lease on the company’s manufacturing facility, which expenses $8,000 every month. This is a committed solved cost since the lease cannot easily be broken, and also the company is cursed to making use of this facility because that years come come. Other instances of committed fixed expenses include salaried employee with permanent contracts, depreciation on buildings, and also insurance.

A discretionary fixed price is a fixed cost that can be readjusted in the quick run without having actually a significant impact ~ above the organization. Because that example, i think Bikes endless contributes $10,000 yearly toward charity organizations. Management has the choice of changing this amount in the quick run without causing a significant impact ~ above the organization. Other examples of discretionary fixed prices include advertising, research and development, and also training programs (although an debate can be made the reducing these expenditures could have a significant impact ~ above the agency depending top top the quantity of the cuts).

In general, monitoring looks to cut discretionary fixed prices when sales and also profits space declining, because cuts in this area have tendency not to have actually as far-ranging an impact on the company as cut committed addressed costs. Challenges arise as soon as struggling organizations go beyond cutting discretionary fixed costs and also begin spring at cutting committed resolved costs.

Mixed Costs

Question: We have actually now learned about two species of cost actions patterns—variable costs and also fixed costs. However, over there is a third form of price that behaves differently in that both total and per unit costs change with alters in activity. What carry out we speak to this kind of cost?

Answer: This cost habits pattern is called a combined cost. The hatchet mixed price describes a expense that has actually a mix of fixed and variable costs. For example, i think sales personnel at Bikes countless are payment a total of $10,000 in monthly value plus a the supervisory board of $7 because that every bike sold. This is a mixed cost due to the fact that it has a resolved component that $10,000 every month and also a variable component of $7 every unit.

Table 5.3 “Mixed Cost habits for Bikes Unlimited” provides the total and per unit fixed costs at three different levels that production, and also Figure 5.3 “Total combined Sales Compensation costs for Bikes Unlimited” graphs the relation of total mixed prices (y-axis) to units produced (x-axis). The suggest at i m sorry the line intersects the y-axis represents the total fixed expense ($10,000), and also the steep of the heat represents the variable cost per unit ($7).

Table 5.3 combined Cost actions for Bikes Unlimited

Units SoldTotal mixed CostsPer Unit combined Cost

Figure 5.3 complete Mixed Sales Compensation expenses for Bikes Unlimited

Because this expense is shown with a directly line, we can use the equation because that a directly line to describe a blended cost:

Key Equation

Total mixed expense = total fixed price + (Unit variable price × variety of units)


Y = f + vX


Y = complete mixed costs (this is the y-axis in figure 5.3 “Total blended Sales Compensation costs for Bikes Unlimited”)f = complete fixed costsv = variable price per unitX = level of task (this is the x-axis in figure 5.3 “Total combined Sales Compensation expenses for Bikes Unlimited”)

For Bikes Unlimited, the mixed price equation is Y = $10,000 + $7X. If Bikes endless sells 4,000 bikes (X) in one month, the complete mixed price (Y) for sales personnel compensation would be $38,000 <= $10,000 + ($7 × 4,000 units)>.

Short term Versus long Term and the appropriate Range

We now present two important principles that need to be considered when estimating costs: short term versus lengthy term, and the appropriate range.

Short ax Versus lengthy Term

Question: as soon as identifying cost actions patterns, we assume that administration is utilizing the price information to make short-term decisions. Why is this temporary decision making assumption so important?

Answer: Variable, fixed, and mixed cost concepts are advantageous for short-lived decision making and also therefore apply to a specific duration of time. This short-term period will vary depending upon the company’s current production capacity and the time required to adjust capacity. In the long term, all cost behavior patterns will most likely change.

For example, mean Bikes Unlimited’s production capacity is 8,000 units per month, and also management plan to increase capacity in 2 years by renting a new production facility and hiring extr personnel. This is a long-term decision that will change the cost actions patterns established earlier. Change production prices will no longer be $60 every unit, resolved production expenses will no much longer be $20,000 every month, and mixed sales compensation prices will likewise change. Every these expenses will readjust because the approximates are accurate just in the brief term.

The relevant Range

Question: an additional important concept we use as soon as estimating costs is dubbed the pertinent range. What is the relevant variety and why is that so necessary when estimating costs?

Answer: The relevant variety is the selection of task for i beg your pardon cost actions patterns are most likely to it is in accurate. The variable, fixed, and mixed prices identified for Bikes endless will only be specific within a details range of activity. Once the firm goes external that range, expense estimates are not have to accurate and also often have to be reevaluated and recalculated.

For example, assume Bikes Unlimited’s combined sales compensation prices of $10,000 every month add to $7 every unit is just valid up to 4,000 systems per month. If unit sales increase beyond 4,000 units, monitoring will hire additional salespeople and also the complete monthly basic salary will certainly increase past $10,000. For this reason the relevant selection for this mixed expense is from zero to 4,000 units. When the firm exceeds sales that 4,000 units per month, that is out of the appropriate range, and the mixed expense must be recalculated.

We talk about the relevant range concept in more detail later on in the chapter. Because that now, remember that the accuracy that cost actions patterns is minimal to a certain range of activity called the pertinent range.

Computer Application

Using Excel to create Charts

Managers commonly use computer applications on a daily basis to carry out a variety of functions. Because that example, they regularly use Excel to create tables, graphs, and also charts. You can use Excel to develop the charts displayed in number 5.1 “Total change Production costs for Bikes Unlimited”, number 5.2 “Total solved Production expenses for Bikes Unlimited”, and Figure 5.3 “Total blended Sales Compensation expenses for Bikes Unlimited”. This is how:

Create the chart. After girlfriend have gotten in the data, highlight the proper data cell (including headings and labels) and click top top Insert, Chart, Scatter. Pick Scatter through Smooth Lines and Markers. The chart that outcomes is attached to your data points. If you change the data, the graph changes, too. (In earlier versions of Excel, the graph wizard to walk you v the steps crucial to create the chart.)Format the chart. currently that you have produced the chart, select it and also use Chart tools to style it with background shading, text inserts, font size, graph size, and other more advanced features. If you want to screen the chart within part other file (e.g., a word document), you deserve to copy that (highlight the chart and select Edit, Copy native the menu bar) and paste it into the document (select Edit, Paste or Paste Special).

The Excel file created by adhering to these three actions would look choose the one presented in figure 5.1 “Total change Production expenses for Bikes Unlimited”.

How Cost behavior Patterns space Used

Question: How do managers use cost actions patterns to make much better decisions?

Answer: correctly predicting what costs will be later on can help managers price several essential questions. For example, supervisors at Bikes Unlimited can ask the following:

We suppose to check out a 5 percent rise in unit sales following year. Exactly how will this impact revenues and costs?We are using for a loan with a bank, and bank supervisors think our sales estimates are high. What happens to our revenues and costs if us lower estimates by 20 percent?What happens to revenues and costs if we add a racing bike to our product line?How will costs behave in the future if we increase automation in the production process?

The only means to correctly predict expenses is to understand how prices behave given alters in activity. Come make great decisions, supervisors must understand how expenses are structured (fixed, variable, or mixed). The next section describes how to estimate fixed and also variable costs, and also how to determine the fixed and also variable contents of mixed costs.

Budget cut at one Elementary school District

A school district exterior Sacramento, California, was challenged with making spending plan cuts due to the fact that of a palliation in state funding. To minimize costs, the institution district’s administration decided to think about closing among the smaller elementary institutions in the district. Follow to an initial estimate, closeup of the door this school would reduce prices by $500,000 come $1,000,000 per year. However, further analysis identified just $100,000 to $150,000 in price savings.

Why walk the analysis yield reduced savings 보다 the early estimate? most of the costs were cursed fixed costs (e.g., teachers’ salaries and benefits) and also could not be eliminated in the quick term. In fact, teachers and also students in ~ the college being considered for closure were to be relocated to various other schools in the district, and so no savings on teachers’ salaries and also benefits would certainly result. The just real short-term cost savings would be in not having to maintain the classrooms, computer lab, and library (nonunion employees would be let go) and in utilities (heat and air conditioning would certainly be rotate off).

The institution district ultimately determined not to close the school due to the fact that of the large committed fixed costs involved, and also a lack of neighborhood support, and also budget cuts were do in other areas throughout the district.

Review difficulty 5.1

Sierra agency is trying to identify the behavior of the three prices shown in the adhering to table. The following expense information is detailed for six months. Calculate the expense per unit, and then identify how each price behaves (fixed, variable, or mixed). Define your answers.

Cost 1Cost 2Cost 3
MonthUnits ProducedTotal CostsCost per UnitTotal CostsCost every UnitTotal CostsCost per Unit

Solution to Review trouble 5.1

As shown in the adhering to table, price 1 is a variable cost because as the variety of units produced changes, complete costs readjust (in ratio to changes in activity) and also per unit price remains the same. Expense 2 is a solved cost because as the variety of units produced changes, total costs continue to be the same and also per unit prices change. Expense 3 is a blended cost since as the variety of units created changes, complete cost changes (but not in relationship to alters in activity) and per unit price changes.

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Cost 1Cost 2Cost 3*Rounded.
MonthUnits ProducedTotal CostsCost every UnitTotal CostsCost per Unit*Total CostsCost every Unit*